Horses To Follow » Heart Shaped

Heart Shaped

Heart Shaped was weak in the market before the 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on Sunday. Taken back by Johnny Murtagh and onto the inside rail in the early stages, she travelled well into the home straight, and got a lovely gap up the rail as Empress Of France drifted to her right. While Heart Shaped couldn’t fully exploit the advantage that she gained, and couldn’t withstand the challenge of Maoineach through the final furlong, Murtagh didn’t knock her about once her winning chance had gone, and she kept on nicely all the way to the line to hold on to second spot behind the impressive winner.

It is remarkable to think that Heart Shaped hasn’t won again since she landed the Marble Hill Stakes at The Curragh last May. She was well fancied for the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot, but got hampered at the start and was never able to get competitive. She disappointed when favourite for the Cherry Hinton Stakes at Newmarket in July, but that was on soft ground, and she ran much better in the higher-class Cheveley Park Stakes on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course. Aidan O’Brien had no qualms about bringing her to Santa Anita to contest the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf in October, and she was desperately unlucky to go down by a fast-diminishing nose to Maram. She should probably be a Grade 1 winner now.

Heart Shaped is a half-sister to AP Valentine, a Grade 1 winner as a juvenile who was high class also at three, finished second to Point Given in both the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. On this showing, it is probable that Heart Shaped will progress as well at three. She had the pace to win a Marble Hill over five furlongs, yet she is bred to get a lot further, and she certainly wasn’t stopping at the end of the Breeders’ Cup race over a mile. Almost all of the Ballydoyle three-year-olds will go forward for a run, and Heart Shaped could easily make up into a Classic filly.

29th March, 2009